Wigan Warriors prove too strong for New Zealand Warriors in World Club Challenge warm-up
Last Updated: 12/02/14 10:59am
Free-scoring winger Joe Burgess touched down four tries as Wigan prepared for the World Club Challenge with a 46-22 victory over New Zealand Warriors in Hamilton.
The visitors trailed 22-16 at half-time to a weakened Warriors side but dominated the second half, with 21-year-old Sam Powell leading the way in the absence of Australian stand-off Blake Green.
Burgess, 19, who scored in Wigan's opening 24-8 Super League defeat by Huddersfield to add to the six tries he registered in two pre-season games, provided the finishing touches with four of his side's nine tries.
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Two other youngsters who boosted their chances of featuring against the Roosters were Dom Manfredi and Ryan Hampshire, while former Bradford forward John Bateman was also impressive on his first outing.
The match at the Waikato Stadium was organised to give the Super League champions much-needed practice ahead of their clash with Sydney Roosters on Saturday week and there were more positives than negatives for coach Shaun Wane.
Wigan were without skipper Sean O'Loughlin, who is nursing a hamstring injury, but England winger Josh Charnley made his first appearance since the World Cup after recovering from a hernia operation and hooker Michael McIlorum began the match after playing 16 minutes against Huddersfield.
Wane's men made the best possible start, racing into a 12-0 lead inside eight minutes with tries from second rower Jack Hughes and Burgess, both converted by acting captain Matty Smith.
Despite only having one training session ahead of kick-off, Wigan showed little signs of jetlag with Gil Dudson, Sam Powell and Dom Manfredi all dotting down.
But an NZ Warriors side, with just seven NRL-experienced players in their starting 13, struck back with three tries of the own.
They got momentum from some good carries by stand-in skipper Sam Rapira and fellow prop Ben Matulino, and the offloading of Feleti Mateo.
Adam Tuimamave-Gerrard, Nathaniel Peteru and Chad Townsend, who also kicked three goals for the Aucklanders, touched down to send the Warriors into the lead.
Wigan centre Darrell Goulding replied to tie the scores, but Townsend's kick into the in-goal for hooker Nathan Friend to dot down helped to put the Warriors up at the break.
Although Wane's side held a deficit at the interval, there was a clear switch of emphasis in the second period as the Super League champions seized control.
The lethal Burgess completed his hat-trick within 10 minutes of the restart, before prop Dudson took advantage of a delightful offload from Bateman to crash over and Powell re-gathered his own grubber kick to score a solo try.
Manfredi provided the highlight of the game when he diffused a kick from Townsend 10 metres from his own line and sprinted 90 metres to score, before Burgess crowned victory with his fourth try three minutes from the end.